Research is clear that plant-based diets improve your health. Eating more plant-based foods can:
- Reduce your risk of chronic diseases
- Support immunity
- Reduce inflammation
- Neutralize free radicals
- Reduce cancer activity
- Improve cholesterol levels
- Help you lose weight
This is largely due to the phytochemicals found in plants. Phytochemicals are possibly the most health-promoting and disease-fighting nutrients, and they can only be found in plants. Fiber is one type of phytochemical that helps promote health. Fibers found in whole plant food support the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and immune systems. Not only does fiber from plants improve health, increasing fiber intake by just 8g per day can also reduce risk for other chronic diseases:
- 19% reduced risk for heart disease
- 15% reduced risk for type 2 diabetes
- 8% reduced risk for colon cancer
- 7% reduced risk of death from all causes
Here are a few easy steps to get more plant-based meals into your diet:
- Make a weekly plan, then shop. Plan for incremental change. Start with a fruit at breakfast then add a vegetable with dinner. Once a routine is established, add a second fruit/veggie serving or maybe a salad at lunch. Fill at least half of your plate with salad greens and cooked or raw vegetables.
- Reach for healthy fats. Add small amounts of nuts, nut butters, seeds, olives, avocados, tahini, and olive oil or other plant oils in your daily meals.
- Include whole grains. Try a side of barley, quinoa, brown rice or any other whole grain. Make your own whole grain flour by blending oatmeal in a blender!
- Get creative with prep. Steam, broil, roast, blend or sauté. Mix up a smoothie, simmer some soup or toss a salad… it all counts!
- Use the stealth approach. Sneak extra veggies into salads, soups and casseroles. Add berries and other fruit to wholegrain breakfast cereals, salads and snacks. Top off your meals with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, chopped nuts, and/or chopped fresh herbs to boost the flavor and add some more plant-based health benefits.
Small changes like these can lead to big results. If you’re looking for more inspiration, stay tuned for some of our team’s favorite plant-based recipes!